COLUMBUS, Ohio --- With over 236 million Americans now subscribing to wireless communications devices such as cell phones, use of such devices while driving in traffic has skyrocketed in recent years. A January study by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. found that 73 percent of the 1,200 drivers surveyed admitted they talk on cell phones while driving. Young drivers are the most likely to talk on a cell phone while driving. But talking on a cell phone isn't the only distraction that can impair driving. Nationwide offers a number of tips to help drivers keep all distractions in check. Before driving: • Familiarize yourself with the vehicle controls (radio, wipers, lights, etc.). • Do not leave loose articles in the car that may slide around while you’re driving. • Adjust all mirrors. • Prepare in advance for things you may need while you're driving like sunglasses or toll money. • Make as many adjustments as possible like seat position, radio, temperature volume, windows, etc. • Take care of personal hygiene (e.g., shaving, putting on make-up, etc.) before you leave home. • Make sure you are well rested. • Take care of phone calls, eating, or other activities before driving. • Know your route before you leave. ----------------- While operating a vehicle: • Drive defensively. Remember, you need to compensate for the actions of others on the road. • Don't eat or drink. • Don't read or write anything. • Avoid smoking. • Don't use communications devices (e.g., cell phones), except in an emergency. • Don't engage in distracting conversations. -------------- Take a break: • If you feel your concentration is impaired or something is distracting you, park the vehicle in a safe location and take a break. Get out of the vehicle at a safe location, walk around, and stretch. • If you need to make a phone call or receive an important phone call, pull over and make that call from the parked car. Finally, Nationwide advises, keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times. This keeps your mind on driving.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials